The Advisory Services Times-Dispatch, September 2014
September 19, 2014
The Advisory Services Times-Dispatch is the online newsletter for ULI’s premier outreach program. Established in 1947, the Advisory Services program has conducted over 600 panels around the world.
This installment of our newsletter includes links to more information about Advisory Services activities at the Fall meeting in New York, an overview of two recently completed panels – Northern Colorado (Resilience Panel) and Downtown Clearwater, Florida, a list of upcoming panels this fall and winter and spotlight on Jim Heid, a longstanding member and active leader at ULI.
As always, if you have any comments or suggestions as to how we can improve this newsletter, please email me at [email protected]
Tom Eitler, Vice President
ULI Advisory Services
Fall Meeting in New York: Events for Past Panelists
PASHA Party. The Planning Advisory Services Honorary Association (PASHA) will be held from 9:30 PM- 11:00 PM on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811, 7th Avenue, in the Lennox Ballroom.
O’Donnell Award Presentation. Each year the Robert M. O’Donnell Award is presented for outstanding contribution by a ULI member to the success of ULI’s Advisory Services Program. This year’s recipient is Michael Banner, President and CEO of the Los Angeles LDC Inc. Come celebrate and congratulate Michael are we present this award to him at the PASHA Party. Time and location are listed above.
Advisory Services 101- Learn from the Veterans. A session focused on Advisory Service Panels and what these panels mean to our members and sponsors is scheduled for Thursday, October 23rd from 10:15 AM- 12:00 PM in the Javits Center. Jim DeFrancia and Alex Rose will lead this session which will include five short info-burst style presentations from five past panel chairs, a moderated discussion session between veterans and panel newbies, and a networking opportunity for new members and young leaders to meet with veteran panelists about their experiences. The specific room location is TBD.
Chalkboard Sign Campaign. As part of this year’s Fall meeting, Advisory Services would like to invite you to participate in a new marketing campaign currently under development. Through photos, we’re hoping to capture the enthusiasm and diversity of past panelists for use on future marketing materials, website, etc. A twist on word clouds, participants will be asked to choose a word that encapsulates what is that Advisory Services means to them. Just one word. Once selected, you will etch your word on a chalkboard. This will then serve as a visual representation of your experience with the program.
If you’re interested in participating in this exciting, creative endeavor, please contact Beth Silverman at [email protected].
Spotlight: Jim Heid
The spotlight for this newsletter is on Jim Heid, a longtime ULI member since 1983 and a pioneer of many of the organization’s initiatives and programs. Jim currently resides in Healdsburg, California, where his company UrbanGreen provides real estate strategy services to developers, government agencies and legacy land owners seeking more sustainable outcomes for the built environment. He is an alumni of MIT’s Real Estate Development program and is a registered Landscape Architect. Prior to founding UrbanGreen in 2003, he was COO for EDAW (1994-2001) based in San Francisco and Hong Kong, and was a Principal with Design Workshop (1987-1993) in Denver and Phoenix.
Jim brings over thirty years’ experience in the design and development of new community, urban infill, and resort developments and is known for his ability to effectively resolve the complex layers of community design and real estate development with proven tools and best practices. He is motivated by the need to deliver high quality developments to a broader market – in an increasingly complex world of entitlements and financing – without compromising environmental, economic, or placemaking objectives.
At ULI, Jim serves an integral role as instructor, Advisory Services panel chair, and author—with several publications on land development and sustainability. With nine panels under his belt, Jim is a seasoned veteran of the Advisory Services program. This fall marks twenty years since his first panel for Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Jim cites the IIT panel as a catalyst for his continued involvement with the program, recalling: ‘As I look back on that experience, the relationships I built, and the impact we had on IIT and on the surrounding neighborhood has been incredible.’ He adds, ‘It’s the two things I love most about the panel process – you build lifelong professional relationships and you make an impact.’
Indeed, Jim’s impact at ULI extends beyond the Advisory Services program. He has been actively pushing industry boundaries through ULI’s many pioneering programs – helping develop the Sustainable Communities workshops with Ed McMahon in 1996 – 2009, leading the Advanced Residential Process program from 2001-2012, and now spearheading new programs in Mixed Use Development as well as the Small Scale, Entrepreneurial Developer’s Forum.
Further still, Jim was invited by ULI to serve as a member of CLUE – the Climate, Land Use and Energy advisory committee, and is currently an active member of the Responsible Property Investing Council. On why he has chosen to stay continuously engaged with a number of ULI initiatives, Jim says, ‘While I could put my time into other professional organizations, ULI always struck me as one place where I could hear differing viewpoints and learn more about how the real estate industry really worked.’
More recently, Jim chaired two panel “firsts” for ULI – a European Panel in Moscow, Russia; and the second of a series of new resilience panels receiving funding from the Kresge Foundation, which looked at the impact of natural disasters in Northern Colorado. As a key player in both new endeavors, Jim states, ‘These two assignments were challenging because we had to adapt the panel process to new settings or issues.’ Still, he says, ‘I never cease to be amazed at how a group of people, many of whom have never worked together, come together and see solutions so quickly and with such breadth, in such a short period of time. That is why the panel process is so brilliant – even after almost eight decades since its inception, it still works for issues of today.’
Tom Eitler, Vice President for Advisory Services says ‘Jim is an innovator and pioneer. He has always provided panels with not just inventive land use and design ideas, but novel approaches to consider, organizing and present panel recommendations. I remember particularly his approach to the Clean Tech Corridor Panel in Los Angeles. He created a method by which the panel and city could better define the market segment in an extremely mature industrial corridor. His method (evaluating uses based on its human capacity, uniqueness of place and its DNA) allowed the panel better provide precise land uses that were appropriate to evolving the corridor into a place that met the city’s vision for 21st century LA.’ Eitler adds, ‘Jim has an uncanny ability to translate very complicated issues into to easily digestible parts that allow a small group like a panel, with very different backgrounds, to come to consensus.’
Panel in focus: Northern Colorado (Resilience Panel)
The Kresge Foundation has awarded ULI an $800,000 grant to support its pursuit of urban design and practices that promote development that is more resilient and adaptable to the impact of climate change.
As part of the Kresge program of work ULI will be conducting Advisory Services panels to address long-range resilience-related challenges and vulnerabilities to weather and sea-level changes. The hope is that the results of such panels can be applied to other communities with similar vulnerabilities.
In June 2014, a ULI panel of nine experts were invited by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland and the town of Estes Park to help provide optimum regional strategies to reduce the effects of natural disasters, particularly the 2013 flood that threatened all three communities. As ULI helps to refine the definition and tools that shape community resilience, the Northern Colorado panel process provided a long list of success stories and practical examples of how individuals and communities can work together in the face of significant adversity.
The panel was chaired by panel veteran Jim Heid, Founder of UrbanGreen Inc. in Healdsburg California. The panel also included: Laura Bonich Vice President at NV5 in Murray, Utah; Molly McCabe, Founder & President of HaydenTanner in Bigfork, Montana; Nancy T. Montoya, Principal at TTA in New Orleans; Sharon Pandak, Partner at Greehan, Taves, Pandak & Stoner PLLC in Woodbridge, Virginia; Philip S. Payne, Principal and CEO at Gingko Residential LLC in Charlotte; Alan Razak, Principal at AthenianRazak LLC in Philadelphia; Damon Rich, Planning Director and Chief Urban Designer at the City of Newark in New Jersey; and Andrew Watkins, Associate at SWA Group in Laguna Beach, California.
The study area, approximately 70 miles north of Denver, included the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland and the town of Estes Park—three distinct geographies found on the northern end of the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. All reside in Larimer County, Colorado—a region projected to grow from a current population of roughly 300,000 to 430,000 by 2030.
The town of Estes Park lies in the Rockies; to its east, in the foothills of the Great Plains, lie the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins. The communities are bound together by a topography that includes a number of natural and constructed features. The town of Estes Park and city of Loveland are tied together by U.S. Route 34, which runs along Big Thompson River through the Big Thompson Canyon. Fort Collins, on the Cache La Poudre River, is connected to Loveland by two major highways—Interstate 25 and U.S. Route 287—both with connections to U.S. Route 34.
The panel’s recommendations for a resilient vision for these communities is united by three guiding observations:
Building Resilience. What has worked to date—small communities operating with rugged individualism—is unlikely to work as the region grows into one that must compete in a changing world.
Financing Resilience. The natural and built systems that connect the sponsoring communities to this place, and to each other, require a shared approach to stewardship and funding over the long term.
Leading Resilience. Although essential to maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit and the agility that are in Colorado’s DNA, the sponsoring communities must find ways to create enduring processes and structures that can act more strategically.
Using the three guiding themes outlined above, the panel’s recommendations can be summarized as follows:
Create enduring processes and structures to ensure a strategic and shared approach to stewardship and funding over the long term. For example, the Big Thompson River Restoration Coalition could act as an agency that provides strategic coordination of preventative measures that address fire, flood, and drought. A regional coalition should (a) coordinate watershed planning, (b) create a vision plan for living with the river as part of the regional green infrastructure, (c) develop an action plan to reduce risk of flooding and damage to property, and (d) coordinate and seek funding for improvements, operations, and maintenance
Allow rivers to act as rivers. Development patterns should be shaped to provide reasonable space for flood lands and even the ability for rivers to move within their floodplains. Recognizing the need to protect people, infrastructure, and property, land use changes should be considered in the creek corridor and the 100-year and 500-year flood areas.
Integrate infrastructure planning. Ensure that critical infrastructure—emergency communications, emergency institutions (hospitals and shelters), emergency access, food supply, power and fuel supply, water supply, housing, and sewage treatment and outflow—remains functional during a disaster. Establishing a regionally planned and connected infrastructure system that goes beyond simple interconnections and mutual aid agreements is critical.
Commit to water conservation. Conservation of water as the region grows must play a more central role in the conversation about resilience. Consider the following strategies: (a) instituting incentive-based conservation rebates, (b) adopting tiered rates, (c) adopting a maximum irrigation water budget, (d) requiring weather-based irrigation controllers, and (e) retrofitting water fixtures when homes sell.
Widen I-25 for growth. Such an expansion should include a dedicated lane for HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) or BRT use that can serve as a third lane for emergency access.
Make the communities aware of the connection between worker housing and resilience. Address housing gaps per community by developing a range of unit types at various affordability levels, including smaller efficiency units suitable for seasonal workers, mixed-income multifamily units, and single-family starter homes. Explore financial and policy mechanisms, such as public/private partnerships, lodging taxes, developer fees, and density bonuses, to incentivize development of more diverse and affordable workforce housing.
Aggressively continue to remove structures in the 100-year floodplain. Consider a floodplain occupancy fee for properties within the floodplain to use for acquisition, demolition, incentives, and restoration. Explore event-based (parametric) and self-insurance policies.
Develop a coordinated economic development strategy. Such a strategy for the region should emphasize regional strengths and promote cross-selling from one city to the others (e.g., collateral material, visitor centers, and online media), especially in the leisure and travel market.
Collaborate with one another. Collaboration is critical. Establish a summit of regional officials to explore ongoing agreements on resilience issues. Encourage gatherings of mayors and chairs, regular meetings of local government senior staff, and forge public, private, and nonprofit leaders into knowledge-sharing networks that are critical to establishing a resilient region.
Establish a short-term small business resilience task force. Establish programs to (a) identify resilience weaknesses, (b) develop business continuity and risk mitigation plans, (c) help strengthen trusted relationships with counselors and support networks, (d) recruit and encourage business resilience planning, (e) establish future business recovery grants/revolving loan funds, and (f) create incentives for businesses to engage in assessment and mitigation activities.
Strengthen communication systems. Make critical information readily accessible and easily understandable before, during, and after a disaster. Foster unexpected public conversations by bringing diverse groups of the larger community together in unexpected combinations to build civic capacity and find solutions for the region’s future.
A preliminary presentation of the panel’s findings can be viewed here.
Panel in focus: Downtown Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater, Florida is a city of 110,000 located on the Gulf of Mexico in the Tampa Bay Region. In the June of 2014 the city sponsored a ULI Advisory Services Panel to provide strategic advice about the revitalization of its downtown.
Chaired by long time member, trustee and former President for ULI Europe Bill Kistler, this panel addressed not only the typical issue facing downtowns, but the added dimension of the relationship between the city and the Church of Scientology, a major landowner and employer in downtown. Other members of the panel included Jordan Block from RNL in Denver, Charles Johnson with C.H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. in Chicago, Pam Minich of Minich Strategic Services in Houston, Brad Rogers of Advanced Placemaking in Baltimore, Sonali Soneji with Simple Solutions Planning & Design, LLC in Arlington, VA, and Doug Wrenn with Rodgers Consulting Inc. in Germantown MD.
Clearwater faces a classic challenge, one that has been posed to almost every community with a tourism-based economy: the more successful that economy becomes, the easier it is to invest in the tourism areas and the harder it becomes to invest in the rest of the city. The Panel witnessed this process at work in Clearwater, where major capital investments in the past decade have made the Clearwater Beach an astonishingly dynamic place, while at the same time much of the traditional downtown area has struggled for economic investment.
The presence of the Church of Scientology has periodically been at odds with the city and the business community, or at least that is the perception from an outsider.
The ULI recommended a new vision for downtown by:
- Creating a Strategy. Clearwater must bridge the gap between the mainland and the beach by identifying complementary mainland activities that reinforce and build upon its existing tourism base.
- Improving Communication. Clearwater must begin to actively tell its own story. To date, the city has been defined passively — and, to a large extent, negatively — from the outside. Clearwater must fill the vacuum with its own voice, creating a brand identity that is strong, positive, unapologetic, and inclusive.
- Assembling Partnerships. The city must begin to forge new relationships among government, the business community, the church of scientology, residents and others to consider a host of physical and organizational improvements that will attract business and housing to the downtown area.
Many of the panel’s recommendations focused on the waterfront and the bluff overlooking Clearwater Bay.
Bill Kistler says of Clearwater: “The downtown has good bones, but at the moment things aren’t happening fast enough, and they need to move more quickly. And that will require collaboration and it will require compromise, which to date people seem to be relatively unwilling to make.”
Another panelist, was even more emphatic: “ULI’s panel’s job was not to settle a theological dispute, or to pass judgment on whether the Church was a noble institution. Rather, we were called in with a very specific mandate: given that the Church did exist, and was not likely to disappear from Clearwater, what was the best way to revitalize downtown? I stand by my assessment that little good will come from continued sniping between City government and the Church of Scientology. They must identify redevelopment opportunities that serve the interests of both institutions, and work to make those projects happen successfully.”
The report can be viewed here.
ULI Advisory Services will soon visit the following locations:
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Chicheng, China
- Omaha NE/Council Bluffs, Nebraska
ULI Advisory Services recently completed panels in the following locations:
- San Bernardino, California
- Downtown Clearwater, Florida
- Northern Colorado (Estes Park, Loveland, & Fort Collins) — Resilience Panel
- Portland, Maine—Resilience Panel